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Library Collection Development Policy

This page provides the Erikson community with information about how the collection of the Edward Neisser Library is built and maintained. 

Effective April 1, 2024. 

The subjects we collect:

We collect materials that support the Institute’s research, clinical, and academic programs in child development, social work, early childhood education, infant studies, infant mental health, and Child Life.  We prioritize academic and practitioner materials, and purchase materials for the layperson where appropriate.  We also collect children’s picture books and books for beginning readers, prioritizing books appropriate for ages 0-8 (birth-grade 3).  

The formats we collect in:

We collect in all formats, including  

  • books (print and electronic, adult and juvenile) 

  • media (DVDs and streaming) 

  • tests and measurements  

  • journals and article databases (electronic).  

Additional Information Related to Specific Formats:

Books and E-books 

When a book is requested by or intended for online programs, the electronic format is preferred.  

E-books often allow for greater accessibility over their print equivalent. However, not all print titles have an online equivalent. The Library can only purchase e-books that are available for academic institutions to license. This currently rules out most popular reading materials and items that are considered to be textbooks, as well as many older texts.  

However, library users are welcome to indicate that they would like a requested text to be purchased in e-book format, if available. Licenses for e-books often come with use restrictions, including limits on simultaneous users, or with digital rights management (DRM) restrictions that limit options for printing, checking out, or accessing content for those users with disabilities. 

When purchasing an e-book, the Library will default to purchasing an e-book with unlimited concurrent users when that option is available. However, e-books are often available with only a single-user option or limited to 3 concurrent users at most.  

Journals and Databases

We prioritize electronic journal subscriptions and only subscribe to print journals that are important to the field or are requested by a faculty or staff member.  

​​​In addition to any constraints put on the Library budget in the annual budgeting process, publishers and library vendors typically raise prices for journals, databases and other e-resources at rates of 3-10% per year.  If the library materials budget remains flat, in practical terms this means there is a reduction in the amount available to purchase library materials and subscriptions.  

In order to efficiently manage our budget to best serve students and faculty, we annually evaluate all subscriptions to journals and databases. Librarians collect and analyze data about pricing and usage of all resources. In addition to this quantitative data, each journal is evaluated based on other criteria, such its relative importance to an academic discipline, its usability, whether its content is available from another database, and if the library can obtain the title through interlibrary loan.  Decisions about cancellations are made in collaboration with the Faculty Library Committee.  

Library subscriptions to databases, journals and other resources renew at various times of the year, and frequently straddle existing and forthcoming fiscal years. Most databases are subscribed to on a fiscal year basis and cancellations will be effective July 1st. Journal and periodical subscriptions often operate on a calendar year basis.  Decisions about database subscriptions are typically made by May 1 and become effective July 1.  Journal subscription decisions are made before November 1 and cancellations become effective January 1.  

Streaming Media and Blu-ray/DVDs 

Streaming video is the preferred format for all courses regardless of teaching mode (online, hybrid, or in-person). Preferred streaming media platforms include Swank, Kanopy, Alexander Street’s Academic Video Online (AVON), and Infobase/Films on Demand. If a streaming video option is not available or is cost prohibitive, the Library will purchase a Blu-ray or DVD copy, if available. 

Streaming media license terms vary by platform.   

  • It may be a violation of a streaming platform’s digital rights management protections to use streaming media in a synchronous online course (e.g. showing a film to your class on Zoom).  Please consult our guide to using streaming media in the classroom:

Public Performances of Films and Media 

Public performances are when a film is shown to a group outside a face-to-face classroom.  It may be a violation of our license agreements to show a streaming film to an Erikson-wide event, or to an event where members of the public are present.  

DVDs with public performance rights will only be purchased when it is the only purchase option available—with the understanding that public performances of a video/DVD in a face-to-face classroom is an exception to the public performance right §110 (1) and therefore lawful. 

  • If public performance rights are required for a screening, they must be secured by the sponsoring department or organization. 

  • Please contact the Library director if you plan to screen a film at any event outside a face-to-face classroom. 

Materials Rarely Collected 

The library typically does not collect self-published materials, review copies, study guides, or business case studies.  We do not accept donations of items that may be in violation of copyright or license agreements (e.g. a publisher’s pre-print or a recording made from a copyrighted work such as music or film). 


The Library avoids purchasing duplicates of a title. Exceptions include titles needed for course reserves or for Institute-sponsored reading programs. If a title is requested in a different format (print or online) than the one that currently exists in our collection, these may be purchased pending Librarian review and availability of funds. 

Refreshing the Collection 

Due to space constraints and the need to keep the Library’s collection useful, relevant and accessible, the Library periodically engages in activities that result in items being removed from the collection. Common reasons for a title being removed include: older editions of new title, duplicate copy of infrequently used work, obsolete content, or poor condition. When appropriate, removed items will be sent to non-profit partners who resell books to support their mission, such as Open Books.   


Please see our Donation Policy:

Purchase Requests 

To request the library purchase a book or video (print or electronic), please use our online form: Purchase Request Form

You may find that interlibrary loan is a better option if you have an urgent need: